As I began putting together this issue, I saw a theme developing. And it dovetailed with some thoughts I had. I almost never think this sort of connectedness is a fluke. The theme? People and our relationships and interactions with them. What we do or not do when people are falling on hard times or suffering. How we negotiate the thorny path through the diversity terrain. What do mission and ministry mean to each of us?
Frank began by talking about how we respond to the needs of those around us. Sometimes, people don’t ask for help or feel like they can’t. We can make them feel even worse if we seem to suggest that they should have taken on the additional burden of being responsible for getting people to care. For example, a family member dies after a protracted battle with cancer. Suddenly, everything stops. All the medical activities and possibly, traveling. The funeral is over. People who were there in droves begin to disperse. That’s when we might say, “The bottom can feel like it’s fallen out. Maybe this person could use a phone call or some get- togethers or we could go for a walk. Maybe if I call to find out, they’ll turn me down. I’m going to go ahead and take that chance.”
Bishop Schol speaks to the divisions between us, fueled by prejudices, mindsets, religious and cultural differences, the rage, fear and hatred that can consume the mind. This is tough business. Our God in Many Faces Ministry Team has been wrestling with this stuff for years, and make no mistake, we look at ourselves as much as we analyze the culture around us. It’s not easy to extract ourselves from the biases, attitudes and ignorance that we all haul around. It takes a concerted effort to get past the discomfort and the challenges to come to the table and listen to the other’s story. We’re swimming around in a societal sea where it can be fatally easy to fall into the “us vs. them” place.
Mission and ministry? Trinity has more opportunities than many church communities. That’s because we are a community and not a collection of people who just show up on Sunday morning most of the time, because of the mission statements and beliefs of our church, the number of people who come here, and the resources we have and can tap into. Relationship is the key element that makes it work or not work.
Pentecost reminds us that if we’ve given our lives to Christ intentionally, we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us. That should help us negotiate the minefield of human interactions, if we’re open to letting the Spirit speak. We pray. We fail and then try again. We acknowledge to ourselves and others that we couldn’t keep it together if it wasn’t for the God to whom we entrust our lives.
Be well and God bless, Carol